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Nam's Noodle

In a word: Not really nahm nahm.

The specs: #0411
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at 77 Square, Decider; menu at Menupix, Campus Food, Nam's Noodle and Karaoke Bar on Urbanspoon

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JM ate the cashew chicken.
Nichole ate some pho with tea.
The bill was $22, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM gave Nam's Noodle a C+; Nichole gave Nam's Noodle a B- (see our grading rubric).

Super Bowl Sunday may be an odd time to go to a southeast Asian restaurant, but Nichole's desire for a Souper Bowl of pho trumped any desire JM had to sit at home and watch allegedly funny commercials.  Cold and brisk, the night air pushed us into the steamed window haven that could be... may be... paradise? Sadly, no.

TeapotNam's Noodle's small dining room is insanely crowded with furniture. We (and our server) had to sidle between the empty bar stools near out table and a massive square pillar. The place could probably fit 25 comfortably, but with this much furniture, it seemed stuffed with just us and one party of 10-12 regulars.

It turned out to be a great night to visit. The big game in front of us, the crowd behind us, and the mysterious VIP rooms (no, seriously, that's how they're marked) to one side added up to a touristic experience. It almost felt like we'd stumbled into a noodle bar at breakfast time on the other side of the world.

Pho

The pho was somewhat disappointing. The menu said this selection would include flank, crunchy flank, tendon, skirt steak and brisket, but Nichole could only identify a couple different cuts of meat. One was exceptionally tender and fatty (tendon?), the other thinly sliced (skirt steak?). The broth was rather cloudy and dark and tasted mostly of salt. The lime peels were ever so slightly yellow at the edges, though the bean sprouts and peppers were fresh. And the portion was traditionally huge - so big, yet so insubstantial, she left some in the bowl.

JM liked the sweet, tangy sauce of the cashew chicken, but found the flavors it rather monotonous. Even he, no fan of greens, acknowledged that there were precious few vegetables in the dish. It was a decent-sized portion, meaning filling but not gorging. Just to be fair, since JM has issues with overly spicy food, he's aware that cashew chicken is probably not the best dish to show off what the house is good at.

Our friendly, fast server mentioned that Nam's delivers, so if braving the furniture maze and/or finding parking on Regent Street seems daunting for dine-in, there are other methods to get your noodle fix on the near west side.

Comments

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I beg to differ with you folks on this one. For a fan of Asian food, Nam's is about as good as it gets in Madison. While (admittedly) a lot of their best dishes carry quite a kick, I would have recommended their amazing many-ingredient fried rice. Truly tasty.

The 'VIP' rooms are karaoke lounges, available for rental. They have a great selection, and nothing makes karaoke more fun than dim sum!

I second Michael's comment. You guys truly missed out by not getting the fried rice.

Dang. I had heard the exact same thing about the pho.

Hm... Personally I think Nam's is the best Chinese in Madison.

I was also VERY dissapointed in the pho. I had heard Nam's had gotten a new cook ahile ago and thought about trying it again, but it doesn't sound like it has changed much. I still haven't found a pho in Madison that is exactly what I want, but I'll keep looking.

Dim Sum? When do they serve dim sum?
And to add my 2c: i was here 2 years ago and was very much not impressed. The Pho was not happenin'.

the menu is way too big for you all to do such a cursory review. go back and try some of the other dishes! e.g., curried chicken with noodles, or v6 (?) which is basically curried noodles and vegetables. both are awesome.

I have to disagree also. I actually like the Pho and mostly everything else I've tried here, except maybe the egg rolls, but just try to get a decent egg roll in Madison. Someone mentioned a new cook. I haven't had the Pho for awhile so maybe things have changed. The fried rice is awesome. I like the Chinese noodle soups also, like the Won Ton Noodle Soup My wife and I went on New Year's Eve. and had a very nice meal at a reasonable price.

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